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Election Reform Activists in Hiding Ahead of Tuesday Protest

FILE: Zimbabwean police officers keep an eye on opposition party supporters as they prepare to march during a protest aimed at President Robert Mugabe in Harare, Zimbabwe, March, 14, 2016.

Some youths belonging to a coalition of opposition parties, the National Election Reform Agenda (NERA), say they have gone into hiding ahead of a protest march by the group penciled for Tuesday in Harare.

The youths said they have been harassed and intimidated by unknown people, suspected to be state security agents since the beginning of last week.

One of the youths was allegedly abducted on Friday and released the following day. Studio 7 could not talk to the alleged victim as her phone went unanswered.

Signatories to NERA include leading opposition parties like the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai, People’s Democratic Party and Zimbabwe People First, among others, which are pushing for electoral reforms before 2018 general elections.

Studio 7 reached NERA national chairman, Joelson Mugari, who said despite the intimidation they are going ahead with Tuesday’s march which was sanctioned by the police.

"We are currently experiencing problems with our youths who are organizing the demonstration whereby we want to hand over a petition to parliament in regard to the non-allignment of electoral laws," he said.

He said one of the youths, identified only as Rose from the opposition Transform Zimbabwe was on Friday abducted by state security agents and only released on Saturday.

He said the petition was to demand questions from parliament on how far it has gone with the alignment of laws ahead of the elections.

"We are going to start from Africa Unity Square at 10 am then we go along Julius Nyerere Way up until Nelson Mandela Avenue then straight to Parliament," said Mugari.

Interview With Joelson Mugari
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